Center opens with new approach to health

Photo by Claire Murray | Photo Editor. The Interfaith Meditation Room will feature benches and cushions for prayer.

Photo by Claire Murray | Photo Editor. The Interfaith Meditation Room will feature benches and cushions for prayer.

By Kaye Burnet | The Duquesne Duke

The grand opening of Duquesne’s new Counseling and Wellbeing Center in Fisher Hall will take place Thursday at 3 p.m. and will highlight several changes to the University’s approach to caring for students’ and faculty’s mental and physical health.

According to center Director Ian Edwards, Duquesne has had a counseling center for the last 20 years, during which time it grew from a testing center with some one-on-one meetings for students to a more formal mental healthcare resource for those struggling with anxiety, depression and other ailments.

Now, the center will have a new focus, which Edwards referred to as “wellbeing.” Beyond offering individual and group counseling, the center will encourage physical fitness and spiritual fulfillment in the student body.

“We want to open up the center to individuals who might be interested in services other than counseling, for students who might not necessarily suffer from a diagnosable psychological condition; students who might simply be interested in promoting their overall quality of life,” Edwards said.

In March, major renovations began on the sixth floor of Fisher Hall, where a legal clinic formerly stood.

The new facility has been open since May, but Edwards said he wanted to save the grand opening for when more students were on campus. The clinic was available to provide a full range of services to students over the summer.

The center in Fisher contains several office spaces and gathering rooms, as well as an Interfaith Meditation Room, which is equipped with benches, cushions and prayer beads. It is decorated with icons from a variety of religious traditions. Edwards described the décor as “bringing nature indoors,” with shades of green and brown.

Before moving into the Fisher facility, the counseling center was split between the Administration Building and a satellite office near Health Services in the Student Union.

Currently, the center offers personal counseling, group counseling, a stress-management program and a student-run wellbeing club, among other services. Every fall, the center sponsors talks at dorms to teach students to recognize signs of stress and depression in themselves and others.

“We’re really trying to foster a sense of community in [students],” Edwards said. “We’re really trying to equip students with the tools they need.”

The grand opening ceremony will take place in 636 Fisher Hall. Edwards, Rev. Sean Hogan and University President Charles Dougherty will be speaking.

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